People with Peristent Lyme Symptoms Have Distinctly Different Gut Microbes Findings on changes in microbiome could lead to new diagnostics and treatments.

By Emily Arntsen, Northeastern University

F atigue, muscles aches, brain fog—are these symptoms of chronic Lyme disease, or merely side effects of the daily grind of human existence? It’s hard to tell.

Lyme disease researcher Kim Lewis shows new ways to diagnose chronic Lyme diseaseChronic Lyme disease, also known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome or PTLDS, is incredibly hard to diagnose because symptoms vary greatly and there is currently no biological test to detect active disease.

Now, Kim Lewis, University Distinguished Professor of biology and director of the Antimicrobial Discovery Center at Northeastern, has proposed a new way to objectively diagnose this elusive disease by analyzing the microbes in a patient’s gut.

Unlike acute Lyme disease, which is diagnosed when a patient tests positive for an immune response to the tick-borne bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, PTLDS is essentially diagnosed on the basis of a questionnaire. Were you treated for Lyme disease recently? Are you tired? Are you experiencing muscle pain or memory loss? Usually Lyme disease is cured with antibiotics before it develops into PTLDS. [Ed. Note:This claim about cure is disputed.]

But for 10 to 20 percent of cases, patients continue to experience persistent fatigue and cognitive difficulties that linger for months or years. [Ed. Note: Some sources allege at least 20% or more of cases continue to experience symptoms.]

“There are about 800,000 people in America living with PTLDS. That’s 800,000 people for whom treatment has failed,” says Lewis. “That’s completely unacceptable.”

“In some cases, this is a debilitating disease that prevents people from having a normal life,” he continues. “And to make matters worse, some people in the medical profession don’t believe in chronic Lyme.”…..Join or login below to continue reading.

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